What Is A Transmission? A Short Primer On What Your Transmission Does For You

Posted on: 22 January 2015

You can probably name many of the parts of your car and you have some vague notion of what they do. Some are self explanatory, like fuel pump, brakes, coolant, gas tank, windshield wipers and restraints. Those things, by name alone, give an indication of what they do. Others are not as clear. Sure, you know kind of what your engine does and you have a general sense of the need for a battery, but you can't really explain what they do in your car. But of all the components in your car, perhaps the biggest head-scratcher for many people is the transmission. What exactly does it do? 

What Your Transmission Really Is

In cars today, your transmission is a sophisticated combination of hydraulics and computer-run electrical components. You may have either an automatic transmission or a manual transmission in your vehicle.

What Your Transmission Really Does

Your transmission is a key mechanical component to you car. Without it, you wouldn't go anywhere. The transmission transmits the power from the engine to the drive axle, which then makes your wheels move. 

You know your car has gears, right? Well the transmission is responsible for the power distribution for those gears. Gears are basically wheels that fit together, like puzzle pieces or teeth, that help determine the proper speed being sent to your wheels. By varying the gear ratio, which is is rate of input and output of those wheels, your transmission alters the levels of power and speed to the wheels as needed.

Confused? Think of it this way: When your car is in "drive," and you push the gas pedal to speed up, your transmission is the mechanism by which your wheels keep up with your engine. In "park" there is a latch, that keeps your car from moving at all. Ever rev your engine in park? You don't go anywhere. That's because your transmission knows your gear is "park" and it won't send the power to the wheels. 

Taking Care of Your Transmission

So now that you know what your transmission does, you can understand why it's important to take care of it. Learn to check your transmission's fluid levels to catch any leaks. Most transmission problems start small and grow bigger over time. That's why it's important to get your car regular tune-ups, as directed by your owner's manual. The sooner you catch a transmission issue, the less the repair will cost you.

If you have more questions, contact a company like Joe's Transmissions Services Inc. for help.